Nikol Szymul staffs a reception desk at Amazon offices discretely tucked into a building called Fiona in downtown Seattle, Washington on May 11, 2017.
Starting today through Oct. 2, all of Amazon’s 650,000 part- and full-time U.S. employees, including Whole Foods associates, will have access to 10 days of subsidized emergency backup child or adult care. Amazon moved to offer backup day care as a result of new challenges experienced by working parents during the coronavirus crisis, the company said.
The benefit is offered through Care.com, which allows users to request backup care online or via an app. Amazon will cover more than 90% of the cost of the service, the company said. Employees pay a co-pay of $25 per day for in-center child care or $5 per hour for in-home child or adult care.
Last March, a group of 1,800 working moms at Amazon, known as the Momazonians, urged CEO Jeff Bezos to provide backup day care for employees, noting that Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Google parent Alphabet all offer this benefit.
Amazon said it will invest “several million dollars” to offer the benefit over the next few months. The company has committed to invest its expected $4 billion second-quarter profit on coronavirus-related efforts, including safety gear for workers and building out its coronavirus-testing capabilities.
Schools and child-care centers closed early on during the pandemic, forcing many parents who were newly restricted to working from home to handle child care on top of their daily job duties. With affordable child care increasingly hard to find in the U.S., experts say the coronavirus crisis may result in more employers providing child-care assistance and family leave policies.
Many businesses have reopened in recent weeks as lockdown restrictions were lifted in some cities, resulting in some parents returning to work. Amazon’s fulfillment centers and Whole Foods stores have remained open during the pandemic. Last month, the company told its corporate employees to continue working from home until at least Oct. 2.